The Promise. The Hype. The Reality.Out of all albums released in 2011, I’ve probably listened to In Solitude’s The World. The Flesh. The Devil. most. I happened to have a physical copy of it, which is unusual for me, and said copy happened to end up in the minivan I occasionally drive. That’s right, when I’m with the kids in the minivan, we’re either rockin’ Rainbow’s Rising or In Solitude. The World . . . has its flaws, but in that kind of context it’s hard to beat.
So when I read Decibel’s enthusiastic, effusive praise of Sister, I got a little excited. Here is the band, it seems, to create the next evolution of Mercyful Fate. I can hear the hype machine grinding, but I was inclined to believe that it was just possible they were as good as Decibel says.
Now, it’s pretty easy to see how you could make the argument. As before, the vocals are quite similar to King Diamond’s singing voice (as opposed to his falsetto or growl). They still play chords straight out of the Denner/Shermann legend. The “evolution” you can find is that they play them without the galloping rhythm. I’m not sure why, except for the fact that it’s hard to play those rhythms night after night on tour. Laziness? Maybe. They also add some interesting color by way of a folksy, acoustic intro (“He Comes”), a gothic rock angle (“Pallid Hands”), and what could be a nod to Budgie (the start of “Inmost Nigredo”).
Sometimes the slightly modified approach works, but overall it’s not as good as the straight-up homage they were doing before. And, despite the fact they cut the track lengths down, their songs still suffer from too much needless repetition. To be fair, though, so does the Rainbow masterpiece.
I don’t mean to say Sister is a bad record, in the slightest. Just don’t believe the hype.
The Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 stars